Dear Friends of “Dial Daily Bread,”
How can you distinguish between faith and presumption? Between "obeying the voice of the Lord" and fanaticism? Everything depends on the answer, because if you don't have "faith," you will "perish" (John 3:16).
Noah had it, building a boat on dry land "at the word of the Lord." Abraham had it, leaving his "luxury" home in Ur of the Chaldeans to live in a tent the rest of his life. David had it, a mere stripling armed with a slingshot and five pebbles facing "in the name of the Lord" the well-armored Goliath. Elijah had it, drenching with water the altar on Mount Carmel, facing certain death at the hands of Ahab if the Lord let him down with no fire to consume his sacrifice.
Was Elijah a man of great physical stature and personality, or was he a shy, retiring, trembling human--like one of us? It would be interesting to see a video actually shot on location on Mount Carmel, but the best we have is what the Bible says about him, and that is that he was like us: "Elijah was a man with a nature like ours [the same kind of person as we are]" (James 5:17). Tempted to be afraid to stand alone? Yes!
The faith of Elijah is a million miles away from presumption; he trembled a long time before the Lord, knelt to pray about the situation, day after day, year after year, until finally the Lord strengthened his conviction to distinguish between Baal and Jehovah (precious few in Israel had that discernment!), and then courage enough to go to Ahab and give him the Lord's ultimatum--take your choice, O king: Baal worship and famine, or repentance and God's blessing.
And all during those 3-1/2 years he had to "pray earnestly" (James 5:17) continually every day or he could never have taken the stand he did on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18). There were "7000" who had "not bowed the knee to Baal," yet not one had the courage to stand up when Elijah made his challenge, Who is on the Lord's side? "The people answered him not a word" (vs. 21). Blessed be the "7000," yet all apparently still had some cowardice deep in their souls!
Revelation tells us "144,000" Elijahs will each "bloom" alone where he or she is "planted" in the last days. O Lord, give us discernment to distinguish between fanaticism and faith, and then courage to stand for the right though the heavens fall!
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: December 7, 2009.
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